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Each month we receive hundreds of calls from new and existing customers about RYO pipe tobacco products, “the care and feeding” of premium cigars and tobacco accessories. Of course we get similar questions from and some of these are at times driven by popular misconceptions some of which are fed by social media. 

Here is our short list of some topics you should be aware of as you think about making a purchase of RYO pipe tobacco, premium or machine rolled cigars. 

That cigars improve with age just like a fine California Pinoit Noir. Unfortunately this is not the case. Tobacco, even the best tobacco used to make premium cigars does not improve with age. It does not have or share the aging characteristics of grapes. 

  • But, the inverse of this issue is true too: you should store premium cigars in a humidor to prolong their life and to ensure they don’t dry out and will taste good when you fire up your next stick.
  • And, if you aren’t storing your cigars in a humidor then by all means store the in a cool dry place and don’t even think about tossing them in the refrigerator. 
  • This is not a good idea and you may end up with a cigar that’s damp and moldy, it won’t age well either and you may shorten the lifespan of the cigar. 

Believing only great source tobacco for cigars comes from Cuba. This is not the case and even now after trade relations have been restored with Cuba don’t believe Cuban tobacco is the ultimate tobacco for cigars. That’s not the case, you can purchase cigars with source tobacco from Honduras, Nicarauga, Brazil, Indonesia, Mexico (yes!), Cameroon, Spain and even the United States. 

  • That’s not to say that tobacco from Cuba can be the highest quality. It’s absolutely one of the best places in the world for growing great tobacco; but in today’s modern cigar industry you can find cigars with source tobacco from a wide variety of countries. 
  • And, it’s not just where the tobacco is from. How a cigar is made, stored and handled in the supply chain can make or break a good cigar – great tobacco from Cuba or elsewhere that has not been processed with great attention to detail is going to negatively impact the quality of the cigar (or pipe tobacco). 
  • Buy a premium cigar from a manufacturer or brand that invests in every step of the manufacturing process starting with where and how the tobacco has been sourced.
  • Every great cigar is made by aging the source tobacco using heat and shade to reduce sugar and water content – the “devil is always in the details” of each step of the manufacturing process.
  • Every cigar is made with three elements: Wrapper, Binder and Filler. And, the manufacturing process is complex; so, don’t just rely on a label of ad that screams where the tobacco is from. You are buying a product that has a lot of moving parts above and beyond the source tobacco.

Thinking all machine made cigars are low quality. It’s true many machine made cigars are made with lower quality tobacco by manufacturers who are not real focused on delivering a quality product. And, yes, the way a machine made cigar is constructed (chopped tobacco leaves as the filler) using low quality pipe tobaccos does in fact produce (in most cases) an inferior cigar. But, this is not always the case.

  • But, if the manufacture is using better quality source tobacco and a good quality wrapper you can absolutely find a great tasting machine made cigar. 
  • Remember the prices of most machine made cigars are significantly lower than what you are paying for a premium cigar.

Don’t believe you are restricted to smoking RYO pipe tobacco that has been flavored by the manufacture. You can can absolutely and easily create your own “custom blend” at home using off the shelf materials and any good quality pipe tobacco that will work as source tobacco. 

  • You can make your own product in a few minutes of time, using an off the shelf container and a flavoring agent that’s just sitting in your liquor cabinet.

Assuming pipe tobacco used for RYO cigarettes is a second rate product that’s not as good as mainstream cigarette manufacturers that produce a finished goods product. Back in the very early days some unscrupulous manufacturers used low grade tobacco that was swept off the floor or sourced from inferior growers and yes, even in today’s market you can find second rate very cheap RYO tobacco products sold in your local convenience store. 

  • But in today’s competitive social media drenched world producing a lousy product (RYO tobacco or otherwise) is not going to bode well for most manufacturers. 
  • The vast majority of pipe tobacco manufacturers (our very own OHM Pipe Tobacco is a good example) source high quality tobacco from growers who know what they are doing, ensuring their online reviews underscore the quality of the overall pipe tobacco. 
  • You are no long limited to a small number of custom tastes or blends with today’s modern RYO pipe tobacco. You can get pipe tobacco in just about any flavor you can conceptualize: mint, super mint, “berry flavoring” and even chocolate or “Turkish” flavoring that’s going to be more exoctic. 
  • And, as earlier in this blog post: you can now buy any off the shelf good pipe tobacco and flavor it at home using just about any type of booze you have in your liquor cabinet.

Not sampling a tobacco product, going all in on a 5lb purchase of RYO pipe tobacco based on reading reviews or recommendations from others.  Back in the now “ancient days” of pipe tobacco manufacturing you had to buy a 1-5lb bag; but, this is no longer the case and you should leverage today’s pipe tobacco “sampler” products to give you a broader taste experience. 

  • Today’s pipe tobacco samplers are priced aggressively by most manufacturers – most realize this is a good way to get their products into the hands of consumers.
  • Once you have a sense for a number of RYO pipe tobacco blends that taste great dive in and get a 5lb bag of pipe tobacco goodness.

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